Love at the Egyptian: Ray & Carol Larson

Our Egyptian Theatre Love Story of 65 years ago. By Carol Larson

To celebrate New Years Eve in 1953 we attended a special midnight movie showing at the Egyptian Theater. For some reason Ray picked me up early so we sat in the car while waiting for the doors to open.

While in the car he asked me to open the glove box, there I found a small box which I immediately opened to find a diamond engagement ring. Needless to say he did not get down on his knees to propose, however I accepted his proposal.

We then attended the movie, to this day we have no idea what the movie was.

A preface to this story was that I worked at The National Bank and Trust in Sycamore in the third floor book keeping department which overlooked downtown Sycamore. One day my co-workers called for me to look out the window to the street below, there I saw Ray coming out of Meinerts Jewelry Store, so I knew a ring was in the near future. I tried to be discreet and not watch for his check when it came through the bookkeeping department.

We will be celebrating our 65th wedding anniversary this year, needless to say The Egyptian Theatre is a part of the many good memories we have shared over the years.

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Backstage at the Egyptian: Interview with Tyler Samples of The Second City

Interview conducted by: Sydney Johnson – Egyptian Theatre Intern

We are very excited to welcome back The Second City on Saturday, February 24th at 7:30PM for the show, Look Both Ways Before Talking. We had the pleasure of interviewing Tyler Samples, the director of this show. This is a show guaranteed to make you laugh, so don’t miss out!

SYDNEY: This is not the first time The Second City has performed at the Egyptian Theatre, what made you decide to come back?

TYLER: We love forming relationships with our audience. Because we have our basis in improvisation, interacting with the audience and building a shared experience is a huge part of what we do, and the chance to come back with completely new material we haven’t shown you before is very exciting.

SYDNEY: What is your favorite part about performing at historical theatres, such as the Egyptian?

TYLER: The Egyptian is absolutely beautiful and just being on a stage like that is electric. Historical theatres like the Egyptian were the original homes of vaudeville, and in a lot of ways the sketch comedy we perform is a continuation of the vaudeville tradition. So there’s something really magical about bringing what we do back to its roots.

SYDNEY: What is the best part about being in a touring ensemble like this one?

TYLER: Definitely getting to go all over the country. Just this month we’ve traveled all the way to Florida, then over to California, then worked our way back. Seeing all those different sights and connecting with people in so many different places is a real treat.

SYDNEY: What sets “Look Both Ways Before Talking” apart from other shows you have done in the past?

TYLER: Right now is such an interesting time in our country, because (I think) it’s safe to say that everybody everywhere feels a little exhausted by everything that’s going on. News is flying at us constantly, social media fills up with opinions and demands for attention; it can be a lot to handle. It feels like a time where everybody wants a little escape, and we wanted to explore that. The different ways people try to get away from it all… without being able to go anywhere.

SYDNEY: What do you hope the audience gets out of attending this show?

TYLER: Our main hope is that people have a laugh and a good time! But beyond that, it’d be great if the audience walks away feeling like they saw themselves in the characters onstage, and that they have permission to be a little goofy in their own lives.

Do not miss this hilarious show, click here to get your tickets now!

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Love at the Egyptian: Jeff and Mary Lu Strack

“I met the girl of my dreams at a DeKalb County 4H Federation meeting nearly sixty-six years ago.  From that evening forward I held out the hope of having Mary Lu as my life’s companion, but not wanting to seem too eager, I didn’t ask her out until late in May, 1952.  With her affirmative response, we had our first date at the Egyptian Theatre. ”

“I remember that we sat in the balcony, but neither of us can recall what movie was playing.  Mary Lu probably wouldn’t have objected, but we didn’t have our first kiss at the theatre that night.  I was being very careful not to do anything that might jeopardize my long term objective.  Whether because of my caution or in spite of my caution, that first date at the Egyptian was a prelude to a marriage which will mark sixty-four years in September.”

– Jeff & Mary Lu Strack

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Backstage at the Egyptian: Interview with Brad Robins of GENTRI

Interview conducted by: Sydney Johnson – Egyptian Theatre Intern

We are so excited to welcome GENTRI: The Gentlemen Trio to the theatre on this Saturday, February 10th, at 7:30PM. This is a show you will not want to miss! We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Brad Robins, a member of GENTRI, for this upcoming show.

SYDNEY: The trio was established in 2014, what were you doing before then? How did Gentri form?

BRAD: GENTRI was formed after the three of us met in a regional musical theater production of Les Mis in which we all played leading roles Casey (Jean Val Jean), Brad (Marius), Bradley Quinn (Enjolras). Because we had all become such good friends during the run of the show, two months after the production ended we decided to form the group.

SYDNEY: GENTRI has a long list of accomplishments, what are you most proud of?

BRAD:  We have had the opportunity early in our career to share the stage with some amazing performers. Some of the most memorable include performing with broadway superstars Kristen Chenoweth, Idina Menzel and Alfie Boe. It was also an incredible experience performing at the Tabernacle on Temple Square with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on their weekly worldwide Sunday morning broadcast.

SYDNEY: What has been your favorite memory as a performer?

BRAD:  I don’t know that I have one single favorite memory. Collectively having the opportunity to share the stage with the brothers I never had (Casey, Bradley Quinn, and Stephen Nelson, our producer) has been a dream come true. Each of us always had dreams of doing something with our music, and we are finally living out those dreams through GENTRI.

SYDNEY: What is your favorite song to perform, and why?

BRAD: While my favorite song probably changes from day to day, it’s hard to not love doing our Les Mis Medley as that is the show that brought the three of us together.

SYDNEY: Which musicians have inspired you the most throughout your life?

BRAD: This probably varies for each of us, but collectively I think broadway powerhouses like Ramin Karimloo, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Josh Groban have all had musical influences in our lives.

SYDNEY: If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing instead?

BRAD: I would work in the world of Division I college football. I have always loved the game, and enjoy watching it on the biggest scale. In college, I joined the film crew at my university (BYU) just so I could go to games and be closer to the team.

SYDNEY: What are the future plans or goals for GENTRI?

BRAD: Ultimately we want to continue to produce music and online content that entertains and inspires. Long term, we’d like to perform on some of the world’s most iconic stages with the world’s best orchestras.

SYDNEY: What can the audience expect when attending your show?

BRAD: Our show will have something for everyone. From GENTRI’s unique spin on classics from the 80’s til now, broadway favorites to epic and emotional originals, our show will entertain and inspire people of all ages.

SYDNEY: What do you like the most about performing in a historic theatre?

BRAD: Every theater is different, and we especially love having the opportunity to perform at historic venues that have their own unique charm and appeal. We always look forward to hearing about the stories associated with historic venues, and look forward to bringing GENTRI’s sound to such a storied venue.

If you are interested in seeing GENTRI in person, tickets are still available! Click here to get yours NOW.

See you on Saturday!

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Backstage at the Egyptian: Introducing Intern Sydney Johnson

Hello! My name is Sydney Johnson and I am the Egyptian Theatre’s Marketing and Fundraising intern for this spring. I am a senior at Northern Illinois University and I am double-majoring in Organizational/Corporate Communication Studies and Nonprofit and NGO Studies with an emphasis in advocacy. To put it simply, I like talking and I want to make the world a better place somehow.

I am beyond excited for this internship opportunity. I worked at a movie theater between the ages of 16 and 20, so being here has been very nostalgic for me. The Egyptian Theatre is so unique and wonderfully different, though. I also have some previous experience working with nonprofits, as I was an intern with the Sycamore History Museum a year ago.

With my previous internship, I gained a lot of fundraising experience. I absolutely love fundraising and I am so looking forward to applying those skills throughout this internship. But, I am most excited to gain more knowledge and new skills when it comes to nonprofit organizations and marketing.

I want to thank The Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies at NIU for selecting me to participate in the DCNP Internship Program. I also want to thank everyone that I have met here so far for being so welcoming. I look forward to meeting the rest of the staff, all the volunteers, and getting started with this internship!

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